Chapter seven of the Xenoblade novelisation, and a triumphant return!
Reyn followed Shulk and Fiora as they left the Military District. “I left the ether cylinders in that old warehouse!” he called. “We’ll have to swing by and get them first!”
“Got it!” Shulk led them back towards the commercial district. Reyn quickly dashed into the open warehouse and returned with the ether cylinders. Making sure they were securely strapped to his shoulder, Reyn ran with his friends back the way they had come. In the central plaza, the trio made for the bridge that connected it to the residential district. A smile swept across Shulk’s face; he could see the mobile artillery on the other side of the bridge.
A Mechon M72 plummeted from the sky, smashing into the ground directly in front of the Homs. They skidded to a stop as Mechon rained down around them.
“What the?” Reyn pulled out his weapon.
“Shulk!” said Fiora urgently. “More from behind!”
Turning, Shulk was dismayed to see a Mechon horde approaching from the commercial district; amongst them was an M82, towering above all the rest. He took a deep breath to clear his mind, and then unsheathed his sword. The three friends stood in a triangle facing outwards, to better observe the machines.
“Reyn! Looks like you and I will have to cut a path through them.”
“Looks like it,” growled Reyn. He didn’t take his eyes off their approaching foes.
“Fiora! Reyn and I will open up a path. Then you can run through.” Shulk braced himself for the argument he knew would come.
“You two can’t do this by yourselves!” Fiora protested. “I wanna fight as well!”
“Get through!” said Shulk sharply. “We’ll be right behind you!”
“A year ago,” Reyn began, glancing at his friends, “Dunban and the Defence Force fought hard to protect the colony and all of us Homs.” He looked back to the Mechon. “Now, it’s our turn to repay them!”
“Please, Fiora,” said Shulk gently. Suddenly he turned, raising his sword above his head to block a strike from an M72. Reyn strolled to the side of the creature and shoved it to the ground.
“Shulk… Reyn…” Fiora was afraid to leave the boys alone.
“Don’t look so worried,” grinned Reyn. “We’ll just get rid of these ones.” He nodded at the Mechon on the ground, struggling to get back up. “Shulk won’t get a scratch!” Both he and his best friend quickly took it out before it could get back up.
“OK,” Fiora relented. “I believe you.”
“Go now, Fiora!” said Shulk quickly.
Reyn quickly pulled off the ether cylinders and handed them to Fiora as she passed him. As she took them from him, she smiled. “You take care too!”
“Of course!” He turned to Shulk as Fiora ran to the mobile artillery. “Looks like she trusts me after all!” he said smugly.
“I told you,” Shulk answered warmly. He took in the scene around him; there were so many Mechon. Adrenaline coursed through his body as he prepared himself for the assault. Shulk sincerely hoped Fiora would not be long with the mobile artillery. “Reyn!” he called. “Try not to use up too much energy. We just need to distract them until Fiora comes back.”
Suddenly Shulk cried out as he was shot in the back by an ether bullet. Reyn quickly looked around for the attacker; an M31 unit was hovering close to Shulk, its guns trained on him as he began to rise.
“OI!” Reyn bellowed. He dashed towards the machine and brought his weapon down on its head, cracking the piece of metal holding its propellers in place. The propellers spun off the machine and it fell out of the air; Reyn ducked and they flew into another M31’s eyepiece, which then dropped to the ground.
Rather pleased with himself, Reyn looked over at Shulk and was alarmed to see an M51 unit making its way towards him; M51 were identical to M69 in appearance, but were weaker than their counterparts. Reyn gave a shout of warning to Shulk, who looked up and just managed to deflect the Mechon’s attack; Reyn reached his friend at this point and rammed the machine with his shield, knocking it to the ground. He pulled Shulk to his feet and together they destroyed it.
Reyn and Shulk backed into the centre of the plaza as the Mechon surrounded them. “That was a close one,” said Shulk.
“You were never cut out for this stuff,” Reyn panted. “You go. I’ll take care of things here.”
Shulk grinned, his shoulders heaving. “You’re too out of breath to persuade me.”
“Tell me about it,” Reyn agreed, shaking his head. He and Shulk looked up sharply at the sound of an explosion. The top of the tower standing above the Central Plaza had been hit by a Mechon blast and was now falling directly towards the boys.
They leapt out of the way in opposite directions as the tower top crashed down between them. Shulk quickly turned around to see Reyn watching him, his friend oblivious to the M72 sneaking up to him from behind.
“Reyn!” Shulk yelled. “Behind you!”
Reyn turned just in time to block the machine’s claws with his shield, and was now grappling with the creature as it tried to crush him. Shulk ran up to it and began to attack it, his sword bouncing uselessly off its side.
“G- Get outta here, Sh- Shulk,” said Reyn through gritted teeth. His muscles were screaming in pain; the Mechon’s claws were coming ever closer to his face. Sweat dripped down his body, and he glared at the machine; its pointed nose, its beady red eyes…
“Don’t be stupid!” Shulk was desperate; he hit the Mechon harder, trying to get it away from his best friend. “Hold on!”
A long, low cry alerted the boys to someone else’s presence. It grew louder, and louder; Shulk stopped his senseless bashing to stare at the bridge leading to the Military District.
Dunban grinned as he danced through the crowd of Mechon, shouting as each one collapsed at his feet. He leaped into an M72 and stuck his shining blue blade straight through it. They hurtled across the plaza together and Dunban flipped in the air; the Mechon flew off the end of his sword and skidded across the ground before him. Dunban landed neatly on the ground as explosions lit up the bridge and all the Mechon on it were no more.
A smile crept up Shulk’s and Reyn’s faces as the smoke cleared. Dunban was clutching a bright red sword in his left hand while his right arm hung limply by his side. Blue electricity licked his entire body and the sword itself as he straightened up and surveyed the area.
“The Monado!” A wave of relief washed over Shulk when he saw the weapon.
Noticing the boys, Dunban put on a cocky grin. “Sorry I kept you waiting.”
“Dunban!” Shulk ran over to him with Reyn.
“Woah, yeah! The Monado!” Reyn was just as excited as Shulk to see it.
“So this is why you weren’t at home,” said Shulk. “I thought so.”
Reyn smirked. “This is what I was waiting to see!”
Dunban prepared himself as more Mechon approached from the Commercial District. “Ready lads?” He cast Enchant, and grinned as Shulk and Reyn shouted excitedly, the three of them now covered in a bluish-purple aura. Dunban eyed the machines walking towards them; some hovering M31 scout units, a hulking M82 and an assortment of M69 and M72.
“You’ll do much more damage to the Mechon now!” Dunban shouted. The younger two relaxed and faced their foes. “Take out the small hovering ones first,” Dunban ordered, “then work your way up. Avoid the large one until all the others are gone!”
Dunban plowed straight into the machines and started felling them with ease. Shulk and Reyn looked at each other and nodded; together they charged a nearby M69 and marvelled at how easily their weapons sliced through their foe’s armour. The pair grinned; the Mechon crumbled.
“Let’s do what Dunban said and take out the little ones, yeah?” said Reyn. “Before one of ‘em shoots ya in the back again.” Shulk nodded and the two of them split up.
Reyn didn’t stray far from Shulk, mindful of his promise to Fiora to keep him safe. The scout units went down first, quickly followed by the hunched M69 units and then the M72. Dunban took out almost half of them on his own. He glanced around and, seeing that the M82 was all that was left, smiled. “All right lads,” he called, “let’s finish this!”
Just outside the Residential District, Fiora jumped and stared across the bridge she had just crossed; a large piece of the Central Plaza’s tower crashed down to seal it off. She hesitated, the ether cylinder cases knocking against each other on her back. Fiora looked up at the mobile artillery, trying to recall her training from months ago…
Images taken using Scalz311‘s YouTube channel.